Sooke Harbour House and Environs

We stayed in two lovely inns off the west coast of British Columbia last month.  The first inn was Sooke Harbour House on Vancouver Island.  The town of Sooke is about 40 kms from Victoria, B.C.  Each room in Sooke Harbour House has a view of the ocean in one way or another.  Here are pictures of some of the changing skies outside our window.

The first day of breakfast the kitchen must have thought we were twelve in the room, not two.  We had the quantity adjusted on day two.

The entrance to the Inn.

And finally a few pictures from a drive to the “Potholes” in Sooke.  Most places wouldn’t proudly refer to their potholes (in the road where they usually are), I thought.  In this case it refers to a picturesque river and swimming destination.  No swimmers on a cool showery day in October but there were some beautiful displays of fall leaves.

Pasadena in October

We journeyed to Los Angeles (L.A.)  last month.  It was Pasadena to be exact.  One of us went to the Woodworking In America conference.  The other one enjoyed some good long walks around downtown Pasadena.  Pasadena is 16 km northeast of downtown L.A.     Here are a few pictures in and around downtown Pasadena.  It’s a clean city with very wide streets and a number of places to do some sight-seeing within a few kilometre radius.   If you are ever down that way a couple of places we would recommend visiting are the Huntingdon Library and Gardens and the Gamble House.     Have you been to Pasadena or LA?  What would you recommend visiting?

I flew from Barcelona to Pasadena and found out I could have just gone to Barcelona in Pasadena:

Outside some back alley shops:

The courtyard of the Pacific Asia Museum:

A Sunny Morning, A Heartwarming Visit and Simply Biscotti #14

We have had a member of our family visiting from the UK for the past while.  She is part of our family in every way except for that small matter of being part of the family tree.  A mere detail, we say.  

On one sunny morning a few days ago we trekked off to Simply Biscotti (the place that originally spawned the reason behind this blog) on Preston St. in Ottawa.  Lyn was interested in seeing the spot that has been written up some here.  It was a great way to start a day.  Good for the soul.  

Lyn and Simply Biscotti

We enjoyed lattes, a morning-glory muffin and an almond tart with raspberry filling.  We’d recommend any and all of them.

I heard an interview with Paul Henderson yesterday.  He’s the hockey player that scored famously during the Russia-Canada hockey series oh so many years ago.  If you are a hockey fan, you’ll know all the details.  Paul spoke of, despite his notoriety, he feeling empty and unhappy.  He ultimately found what matters in life are relationships.  I don’t know hockey, but I am firmly convinced that when all is said is done, Paul has got it right.  It is family and it is relationships that give meaning to life.  (supplemented by the odd trip to Simply Biscotti).  What do you think?


Remembrance Day 2012-Thank You Dad

Our father, Bill Allen, served in the army in World War II.  He initially trained others to drive tanks here on Canadian soil and then he served overseas-Northern Africa and Italy.  He service ended before the end of the war due to serious illness.  He contracted rheumatic fever and was sent home.

He was a man of solid character, our Dad.  A bit of a rascal some would say.  Well perhaps many would say that and we (three daughters) enjoyed his sense of adventure, wit and humour.  He was full of mischief.  His service in the war was never a big topic of conversation or perhaps I just wasn’t listening.  If it was the latter, that is a shame for Dad never lived long enough for me to be wise enough to ask him more.  He died at the relatively young age of 61 in 1979.  I can only imagine the experience, the impact and the horrors of war that our Dad experienced.

Men and women who served and returned must hope and trust their work and sacrifice makes the world a better place.  This was brought home to me in a very real way when in the 1970’s I was held up at gun point while working in a pharmacy in Regina, Saskatchewan.  I was not harmed.  Shaken, but not harmed.  When I called my Dad to tell him what had happened, he said “I never served in the war so that some ba@#$rd could hold a gun to my daughter’s head!”.  And I thought how he and others might have held hope the world would be rid of all evil as a result of their efforts.

If Dad were alive today, I’d travel to wherever he lived from wherever I lived.  I’d accompany him to a Remembrance Day Ceremony.  And I would tell him the world is a better place because of his service.

Thank you Dad.

The Best and Worst of People

We are taking our time putting our allotment garden to sleep this fall.  Most of the plant material has been cleared except for some swiss chard and a half row of lovely fall carrots. We’d tried the carrots a few weeks ago and they were delicious.  After a frost we knew they would be even better.  

The worst of people

You can imagine our surprise (and perhaps some of the things we said) when we met at the garden this week, shovels and forks in hand, thinking of enjoying those carrots and they were gone!  Pulled up and taken.  The thief or thieves must be into composting for they pulled the tops off the carrots and laid them neatly down on top the now empty row.  The nerve!  Carrots are pretty inexpensive in the store.  Whoever you are, we’d rather you go to the green grocer for your vegetables!  You have to be a certain sort to take something someone else has planted, watered and tended.  

The best of people

On the same visit to the garden, a woman who has walked by and chatted with us throughout the gardening season came by to say hello.  We had given her some swiss chard earlier in the year and she wanted us to come by for coffee and a snack to say thank you.  And so we did.  The snack turned out to be hearty delicious Lebanese lunch complete with Lebanese coffee!  Mmmm good!

Within a 3 hour period on a sunny late fall afternoon we saw the worst of people and the best of people.